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Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Face Extra Worries During Pandemic

Liz Lerner
Grandparents raising grandchildren come with a special set of concerns.

Keeping children happy and learning during the stay-at-home order is challenging for anyone, but for grandparents raising their grandchildren, it comes with a special set of worries.

At 63 years old, Jamie Regan of Mashpee is raising his three-and-a-half-year-old granddaughter on his own. With a child so young, he’s now playmate, day care and preschool in one.

“I never thought I would think a Zoom meeting with a preschool would be that important and that much fun,” he said.

In addition to parenting Madelynn, Regan checks in with his own parents, who are in their 80s. It’s hard to even think about what would happen if he became gravely ill.

“That’s a nightmare,” he said. “I do not know what would happen, so I make it a point to take extra good care of myself.”

Kerry Bickford runs a Hyannis support group for grandparents who are parenting. She said many are deeply concerned for adult children who are vulnerable to COVID-19 for the same reasons they’re not able to parent day-to-day.

“There’s a lot of talk about homelessness right now, and how those people who are homeless are much more susceptible to this virus because they can’t do the social distancing and they don’t have a safe place,” she said.

Regan said he’s grateful for his support group in East Falmouth.

“I’ve been doing that now for over a year, and I’ve learned how other families deal with things,” he said.

They, too, are holding a video conference call.

Jennette Barnes is a reporter and producer. Named a Master Reporter by the New England Society of News Editors, she brings more than 20 years of news experience to CAI.